Former Inmate Recounts Booking Room Abuse Incident - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Former Inmate Recounts Booking Room Abuse Incident

"I was just sitting in my cell. Just sitting in the cell."

That's why Roderick Miller says he couldn't believe what happened next. Miller was arrested on a domestic violence charge three years ago - a charge for which he was later found "not guilty."

He remembers being in a holding cell. He had requested his migraine medicine and asked to make a phone call.  But Miller says what followed was an unprovoked attack.

"With extreme force, I was punched in the chest. I fell over a bench and I hit my head against a wall. The deputy immediately began yelling, 'This ought to help your headache.'"

Left dazed on the floor, Miller says the assault was just beginning.

"He slammed me to the floor. And when he did, he dropped down with his knees into my back. And the female deputy who was holding the door open immediately began to kick me. So, I was being assaulted by two deputies at one time," he explained, shaking his head.

Miller says multiple complaints about the experience fell on deaf ears. He filed suit earlier this year, when alleged jail abuse started getting lots of attention following the death of inmate Jessie Lee Williams.

In fact, Miller personally sat through the nearly two week long federal inmate abuse trial in Hattiesburg. He watched and listened as former jail deputies admitted to taking part in abuse incidents and writing false reports to cover up their actions.

"And to hear these deputies come forward, not because they felt bad at the time, but because they were caught."

At the conclusion of the federal inmate abuse trial in Hattiesburg, the government prosecutor said the criminal investigation of this case will continue with the possibility of more indictments.

The civil side of this case will also continue, both with the lawsuits now pending and others that may still be filed.

"I'm reviewing over 100 cases right now, allegations of excessive force," said attorney Michael Crosby, who represented the family of Jessie Lee Williams.

The attention to that case and subsequent guilty pleas of nine deputies opened the flood gate for lawsuits.

"Some of the cases I'm reviewing are cases that have already been filed in court and the officers got on the stand and lied. And the cases were thrown out. And we're going back to revive those cases because some of those officers have now pled guilty and admitted that they lied," said Crosby.

WLOX News spoke with Cy Faneca, the attorney for Harrison County Sheriff George Payne. He said Miller's lawsuit is among 15 "excessive force" suits now pending.

Attorney Faneca also pointed out that anyone can "allege" something happened in a lawsuit, but what they're able to "prove" is sometimes altogether different.

By Steve Phillips

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